We make our meek adjustments, Contented with such random consolations As the wind deposits In slithered and too ample pockets. For we can still love the world, who find A famished kitten on the step, and know Recesses for it from the fury of the street, Or warm torn elbow coverts. We will sidestep, and to the final smirk Dally the doom of that inevitable thumb That slowly chafes its puckered index toward us, Facing the dull squint with what innocence And what surprise! And yet these fine collapses are not lies More than the pirouettes of any pliant cane; Our obsequies are, in a way, no enterprise. We can evade you, and all else but the heart: What blame to us if the heart live on. The game enforces smirks; but we have seen The moon in lonely alleys make A grail of laughter of an empty ash can, And through all sound of gaiety and quest Have heard a kitten in the wilderness.
At Melville's Tomb
Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge
The dice of drowned men's bones he saw bequeath
An embassy. Their numbers as he watched,
Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured.
And wrecks passed without sound of bells,
The calyx of death's bounty giving back
A scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph,
The portent wound in corridors of shells.
Then in the circuit calm of one vast coil,
Its lashings charmed and malice reconciled,
Frosted eyes there were that lifted altars;
And silent answers crept across the stars.
Compass, quadrant and sextant contrive
No farther tides... High in the azure steeps
Monody shall not wake the mariner.
This fabulous shadow only the sea keeps.